We had a doctor’s appointment this past Friday to do another non-stress test and to measure her. The NST went fine, as all of them had been, but she was still measuring small so we were sent to get another ultrasound. According to the ultrasound results, Audrey had dropped below the 10th percentile in size and though her head was normal, her body was small. Our doctor said that this is usually what the body will do to protect the baby when he/she is not getting enough nutrients (ie: giving all the nutrients to the brain and not the body.) Our doctor was on call that day, so we had to wait for the results of the ultrasound and the next step; we went to the mall to distract ourselves and kill time. We were in a department store when we got the phone call to head on over to Labor and Delivery because “it was time to have a baby.” I immediately started crying in the store because this was not what I had wanted, and I felt completely unprepared for her arrival and a little bit nervous/scared. Plus, I was worried that even though she was full-term, 37+ weeks was still sort of early for her to be born.
Brian and I called our doula, Carmen, and headed home to get some last minute things done before heading into the hospital. Once we got there, our doctor came in and talked with us about why she thought we needed to do this and what was going to happen. Luckily for us, she was on call all weekend, so she didn’t put a time limit on the birth. She said that as long as Audrey was still looking healthy, we could go as long as we needed to. Unfortunately, I had to be on a monitor the whole time because of their concerns about Audrey, so I wasn’t able to walk around the halls like I had hoped. I was started on pitocin within an hour and a half of getting there; because we were being induced, I was really nervous and unsure about how this delivery was going to go. I really, really wanted a natural, medication-free birth, but had also heard horror stories about what pitocin does to your body and how it can make contractions more intense and frequent. I was also nervous about the fact that I had to be attached the monitors the whole time and couldn’t walk freely around. Because they were worried about Audrey, I had to be on a fetal monitor constantly. I was also GBS positive, so I was required to be on an antibiotic IV the entire labor. The fact that I couldn’t walk freely around the hospital really made me nervous about my chances for an easier labor.
When I came into the hospital, I was already almost 3cm dilated and 70% effaced. Audrey was -2 station. Carmen, Brian and I spent about 8 or so hours the first night just hanging out and waiting for the pitocin to help me progress. Unfortunately, by 2:30am, the pitocin hadn’t “taken off” like the doctor had wanted, so she turned the dose down in order to let me get some sleep in preparation for re-starting the induction the next day. Carmen was able to go home and sleep, and I was able to eat some food and get some sleep, too…well, as much sleep as possible when hooked up to fetal monitors and a pitocin IV.
Pitocin was started full-blast again the next morning around 9am, and the entire morning was pretty similar to the night before. I was feeling contractions but it was nothing unbearable; the nurses and doctor kept telling me I was still looking too comfortable. Brian, Carmen and I tried to pass the time by playing Uno, watching trashy MTV shows and reading magazines. At this point, I was getting a little frustrated because it seemed like nothing was happening and it just felt like this birth was going to go on forever.
Dr. Whitaker came in and checked my progress at about 2pm and I was about 4 cm dilated and my cervix was now in a favorable position (ie: more forward than it had been when I came in.) She asked if they could break my water to get things moving along, and I said yes. This is when the “fun” started! I definitely noticed a difference in contractions after they broke my water…it was getting much harder to concentrate on the Uno game! Eventually, I needed to quit playing Uno and just lay on my side because contractions were getting so intense. I had thrown up and was just generally not feeling very great.
Despite breaking my water and counting on my body’s own hormones to kick into gear (which they did), they also increased my pitocin a bit. This caused me to have absolutely no breaks between contractions and to become exhausted, especially after the lack of sleep from the night before. I decided that I needed to have something to let me rest…no painkillers, just something to give me a chance to have a break. I asked Dr. Whitaker for nubain, which is a narcotic. Unfortunately, she said I’d have to wait 20 minutes or so for them to monitor Audrey and make sure she was doing well enough for me to get it. I think I gave her the look of death at this point because Audrey had been on the monitors the entire labor so my brain was thinking: “What!? What else do you need to monitor?!” They did turn down the pitocin, though, because they wanted me to be able to relax between contractions…the idea of having to suffer through 20 more minutes of those contractions before getting the narcotic seemed impossible, though.
After the narcotic was given and the pitocin was turned down, I was able to rest during the breaks in contractions. Despite the increased break time, the contractions got much worse and more painful. These contractions lasted about an hour or an hour and a half, and made me feel like I just could not make it without an epi or other pain meds. It turns out that this was transition…DEFINITELY NOT FUN. Eventually, I felt like I needed to push, and happened to say so when the nurse was in the room. She checked my progress and, much to my surprise, said “You are almost ready to go and past 9cm dilated!” It was such a relief to hear that because I thought I was 7cm dilated at most at that point, and didn’t think I could make it another 3 or so hours with contractions like those.
The nurse went to get Dr. Whitaker who also checked my progress and confirmed that I was ready to push. The Labor and Delivery room then went from being quiet to being full of people ready for Audrey’s arrival. The entire process of pushing took about 35-45 minutes and Dr. Whitaker stayed for the whole thing and chatted away with us. Well, she chatted with Brian & Carmen; I was too busy trying to focus on the contractions that I didn’t add much to the conversation. While pushing was painful, it was more intense than anything else. It takes a LOT of stamina and endurance to be able to keep pushing for that long in the way that they want you to. I was exhausted, but at that point, I just wanted it to be over with…it was frustrating to push at first because I wasn’t feeling any changes, but once I felt her starting to move downwards, it made it much easier to keep going. After her head passed, I thought I was done, but her shoulders got stuck, so I needed to give one last, hard, intense push…and then she was here! Dr. Whitaker was amazing and there was no tearing or episiotomy(my big fear).
She arrived on September 12 at 8:34pm MT, weighing 6lbs even and measuring in at 18.5inches. We got to spend the first hour or so with her in Labor and Delivery, and then Brian and she went to the nursery while I got to shower and move into our postpartum room. She is absolutely perfect, and scored perfectly on her APGAR. Despite their worries about her size, she is 100% healthy; the placenta was a little bit small, though, so the decision to get her out seems like a good one at this point. It could have been small because of a potential blood clot, but we won’t find that out for sure until my 6 week post-partum check-up.
While being induced was not what I wanted, the rest of the birth could not have been better. Brian, Carmen and Dr. Whitaker deserve so much credit for that because without any one of them, I know this birth would not have gone as well as it did. I am so happy I was able to go without an epi and it was worth it in the end because she was so alert right when she came out…she opened her eyes right away and was taking everything in, rather than being groggy like some babies can be after an epi. It was also really nice to be able to stand on my own in the shower and to walk (rather than be wheeled) to the nursery.
We’re currently getting used to life with a new little addition, and could not be more in love with her. Here is her hospital website debut: http://newbabynews.net/hospitals/gtf11/public/showBaby.pl?babyID=h11-6655